ST. GEORGE'S, NL, Nov. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper
was in St. George's Newfoundland today with Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
(CAP) National Chief Patrick Brazeau, where he signed an Agreement in
Principle that will ultimately grant the 7,800 members of the Federation of
Newfoundland Indians their status as registered Indians.
The Federation of Newfoundland Indians is CAP's Newfoundland affiliate.
There are nine other affiliate bodies across Canada that comprise the
membership of the Congress.
The announcement today paves the way for the Federation's 7,800 members
to receive many benefits under the Indian Act - including health and education
benefits - without forcing them to move to a reserve.
Chief Brazeau calls the announcement historic. "Today, the Mi'kmaq
members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians can claim a victory. Their
rights, their ancestry and their democratic will have been recognized. And, it
has occurred in a sprit of true collaboration without the prescriptive
application of the reserve system. This is real progress for real people, and
I'm proud of what we have been able to achieve through partnership and
negotiation," said the National Chief.
Chief Brendan Sheppard, leader of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians
and Vice-Chief of CAP was quick to share his members' excitement. "Nearly
8,000 members have seen the inherent right of the Mi'kmaq people of
Newfoundland to self-identification affirmed and recognized. We view this as a
belief in people. Prime Minister Harper, Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl
and former Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice are all to be commended for
working with us to move this historic endeavour forward today," said Chief
The Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) was established in 1972 to
promote the social, cultural, economic and educational well being of the
Mi'Kmaq people of Newfoundland. The FNI currently represent approximately
7,800 Mi'Kmaqs located in nine bands, primarily in the central and western
regions of the province.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national Aboriginal political
organization advocating for the rights and interests of off-reserve Aboriginal
Peoples throughout Canada since 1971.
For further information:
For further information: Armand Mackenzie, (418) 961-5322